Ten Seconds of Bravery

"Better an OOPS than a WHAT IF." 

That so defines my life these days. I'm learning and growing and it hurts. For someone who struggles with ever present fear, living beyond my comfort zone is terrifying. Exhausting. And seemingly impossible. But I'm reaching out, and I'm tip-toeing past the gates I've built for myself. And it's messy. It's uncomfortable. And it certainly ain't pretty. 

Someone once said that to do brave things, you only need ten seconds of courage.

As I roll around the number in my head, ten seconds seems like something I’d be willing to sacrifice for a brave life. 

But I also know this:

I spent a semester studying in South Africa. It was by far the most daring decision I’ve ever made. So I decided to keep being brave. To do the things I normally wouldn’t dream of.

One of those things was climbing a 30 foot waterfall. In all honesty, I was trying to impress a boy. How cliché! But, nevertheless, I climbed that sucker. We started at the top and climbed our way down past vines and flowers and rocks and streaming water. It was glorious. And so we climbed back up, me following this boy. He made it, and I was one step behind him. I reached the top rock that symbolized safety and I pulled myself up. But, because it was a waterfall, my hand slipped

And I fell. 

My ankle hit rocks and spun my body out and away from the waterfall. I imagine I looked like I was flying, or being Superman. 

I couldn't have been falling for more than three seconds, four at the most. But it felt like an hour. I remember vivid, colorful, sharp details. I remember enough time to form complete, rushing trains of thoughts. I remember the chill of the wind and the warmth of the sun. I remember silence. I remember the inevitability of it all. It seemed like an entire lifetime in those three or four seconds of free fall. 

I walked away from that experience, so to speak, with only a sprained ankle. It was a miracle.

And so even though ten seconds out of the day sounds minute, insignificant, fleeting; I also know how the turmoil of fear twists, rushes, and simultaneously slows time. 

Those ten seconds will not be easy. 

But neither is a life lived in fear. 

In this season, I’ve been building a life on corners of ten second courage. 

I feel so proud. I feel like I'll be able to look back at this time and say, "You go girl. You didn't know it yet, but you were moving mountains." 

To all my cowardly lions out there, don't buy into what you were. Buy into what you are: brave as a lion. And it all starts with a choice in one moment, in 10 seconds of boldness. 

I don't want to reach the end of my time on this earth and think, "What if." So for now, I'm going to messy. I'm going to make lots of mistakes. Let "oops" and ten seconds be my anthem. Bring it on.